King Kong: The Most Remade Film in History?

         The 1933 version of King Kong, directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, is of major importance in its relation to the history of cinema. The film broke barriers in its use of special effects. This field of cinema production has had many achievements. Many special effects creators cite the use of stop-animation in this film as an early inspiration. With the technology used in films today, special effects have become a new standard for judging movies as a whole. This is one reason that the 1933 King Kong is historically significant. One needs only to look at the various remakes of this classic of American cinema to gain another aspect of its importance.

         Just as recently as 2005, director Peter Jackson made his version of King Kong look more real using the computer animated graphics technology of today’s special effects. Comparatively, the newer version is good because of its more realistic looking portrayal of King Kong using computer generated images, but the first version has an original feel to it that audience members might like even better than the newer version.

         Although these achievements were important for their time, audiences of today notice little inconsistencies in the portrayal of Kong that seem absurd by today’s special effects standards. Though the 1933 version of King Kong may not be visually stunning to today’s audiences, back then it probably was. The inaccuracies do not take away from the film in this sense but make it more authentic of the time period.

         In another aspect of this film, the human performances are not to be overlooked. The actors do a good job of engaging the audience in the story and are inspiring in their own right. It is all of these elements of the 1933 version of King Kong that make the film a historically important film and that is why it has been remade many times.

Brian Schuldt

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